10 great artists from the Ribble Valley
After the huge success of the Ribble Valley Food Trail, the vibrant arts scene is the next big thing for the region. Barbara Waite reports
Visitors have flocked to the Ribble Valley to sample the delights of its beautiful scenery, bustling market towns and quaint villages. In no small part this was thanks to the Food Trail initiated by the council. But it’s not just foodies who enjoy the area. It’s become something of a big draw to many artists – both amateur and professional – who are inspired by the landscape. To build on this, the Ribble Valley has launched a new website and newsletter giving access to all the creative people in the area. Throughout the year there’s a host of things to do and see from theatre, music, exhibitions and festivals to regular workshops and galleries. Whether you live locally or are visiting for a day there are always venues to explore which showcase the region’s talent. Here are just a small selection of the artists working in the area, many of them featured on the website.
Cassandra Batterby has a passion for landscapes and working in the Ribble Valley provides her with a great deal of inspiration. Resident artist at the Bashall Barn art gallery, she enjoys the inclement weather and rapidly changing light conditions which create patterns across familiar landmarks and the sky all captured in moody pastels. Visitors can watch and chat to her during their visit.
Beverley Chapelhow co-owns the Ribble Valley Art Studios along with Keith Parkinson. Both enjoy teaching and Beverley spans a wide range of media working with clay and plaster to more delicate watercolours and pastels. She enjoys experimentation and reworks old pieces - currently working with wax and shellac.
Keith Parkinson graduated in 2008 following a 24-year teaching career and now enjoys making and exhibiting, teaching and lecturing across the North of England. He runs school workshops and residencies and his own work is eclectic and energetic and colourful, but marked by an exploration of light and movement.
John Clarke is gamekeeper turned painter and is considered one of the leading animal artists in the country. His 22 years of work on the Duchy of Lancaster’s Whitewell estate in Bowland was the perfect background for a man who now produces stunning dog and horse portraits in acrylics or oils. He always insists on meeting his subject and takes his own reference photos. Look out for his trademark shooting man included in all his work.
Jenny Eaton is a self-taught ceramicist who moved to her workshop in the Forest of Bowland after taking adult education classes. Her trial and error experiments with hand building and throwing and smoke firing, produce an aged and eroded effect. No casting or moulding is involved in the creation of each piece which conceived with either an individual in mind, a memory of emotion, or reaction to an experience.
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Pat Ellacott produces everything from small sketches to large scale paintings that incorporate pigments, textiles and other less conventional materials. Her target medium is drawing, which can be seen from her figurative and observational studies, as well as in her other forms of materials, such as painting. Her works have been commissioned by Northcote’s Nigel Haworth and the prize-winning Bashall Barn Food Visitor Centre.
Peter Hopwood portrays the local landscape, but also includes still life, floral studies and figurative work in his portfolio. His work is often abstract in style and in his exploration of pattern and form he uses watercolour, inks and acrylic paint on different surfaces to achieve a harmonious quality. He produces prints of some of his original works.
Steve Rostron worked in education as a teacher for more than 10 years, but decided to devote more time to painting after relocating to Sabden in 2009. The ever-changing sky in the countryside around him made a huge impact on his work which is not always a direct representation of a scene but more an amalgamation of experience and memory. The work created has a more abstracted feel encouraging the viewer to bring their own interpretations.
John Rotherham specialises in people and animal portraits. Inspired by the 18th Century French master pastel artists, he uses traditional pastel techniques in his portraits. Working exclusively in soft pastel, he is concerned with capturing likeness, character and personality, and bringing each subject to life in a vibrant, contemporary painting. Originally from Liverpool, he has lived and worked in the Ribble Valley for over 15 years where his work is onshow at Bashall Barn art gallery.
Angela Wakefield is a leading contemporary urban landscape painter with an ability to capture the behaviour of light and a sense of movement and atmosphere in the urban environment. Although Angela painted the industrial towns of Lancashire earlier in her career, it was her dynamic paintings of New York and London that resonated with an international audience, but the North of England is where Angela still lives and works, and will always be a source of inspiration.
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